The benefits of the riding simulator for teachers and pupils of the Alexander Technique
Our sedentary lifestyle causes us to develop habitually stiff legs, with a lot of tension in the pelvis. This makes it difficult to sit upright with ease; commonly we either use tension to sit upright or we collapse. This, in turn, causes many back problems. Chronic stiffness of the legs means we may struggle to walk upstairs, or even to rise from sitting to standing.
Many Alexander teachers use a wooden horse and saddle as an aid to free up the legs and ease the tension in the pelvis and lower back.
Using a riding simulator is tremendously valuable to aid this process of freedom of movement. Anyone who has already had Alexander lessons will find the riding simulator helpful. Movement is an extra stimulus – we have a reaction to being moved. As our habitual reactions will reveal themselves more clearly when being moved, it becomes easier to identify, ameliorate and eventually prevent these habits. Torsion and tension can be more readily located, and an Alexander teacher can be more specific in suggesting what needs to be undone. The resulting freedom of the legs, the hip joints, and the lower back improves overall use and function.
It should be noted that in most cases the rider is not doing anything herself – in these lessons reins and stirrups are rarely used. Rather, she works on avoiding her habit of stiffening in response to movement. It is not a riding lesson as such (although what is discovered here can be applied to riding) but a way of unlearning habitual tensions.
For three months, until mid-April, the Alexander Technique Imperial Wharf centre has a riding simulator.
A lesson would consist of a half-hour normal Alexander Technique lesson followed by 15 minutes on the horse.
We have a number of STAT-qualified Alexander teachers available. In addition we have two riding instructors who are also Alexander teachers.
For teachers, dates, times, and fees, please see How to Book.
For experienced riders we have Vicky Walsh and Gloria Pullan who will give half-hour lessons using the horse.
“There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.”
Attributed to Winston Churchill